Apple just refreshed its iPad Pro lineup with the new M1 chip, the same custom system-on-a-chip (SoC) that powers the company’s latest laptops. If a new report is to be believed, Apple is already working on another major design change for its high-end slates. The next iPad Pro refresh could feature wireless charging and a glass back panel, says Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
The current version of the iPad Pro is clad entirely in aluminum. However, wireless charging doesn’t work well with metal bodies. That should come as no shock. It’s one of the primary reasons all high-end phones are glass, and cheaper phones want to look like expensive phones. Therefore, almost all our phones are glass or plastic trying to look like glass.
Very few tablets have had wireless charging because it’s difficult to line up charging coils on something so large, and many charging stands wouldn’t even accommodate a large tablet like the iPad Pro. I’ve used a handful of Android tablets with wireless charging, and it never felt as convenient as wireless charging in a phone.
If Apple does add wireless charging to the iPad, I’d wager it will be with a specific accessory in mind. Apple attempted to revolutionize wireless charging with AirPower, which was supposed to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously. However, it ended up canceling the product when the engineering proved too difficult. The addition of Qi technology to the iPad Pro would be an opportunity to try again with a product that takes the tablet’s form factor into account, perhaps utilizing the company’s MagSafe technology to help line it up.
Gurman also claims Apple is working on a refreshed iPad Air. This device will have slimmer bezels than the current Mini, which is six years old. Clearly, this product is long overdue for a refresh. There may also be a thinner entry-level iPad targeted at students. The new Mini could debut this year, but Gurman didn’t have any additional details on the base-model iPad.
As usual, take the leak with a grain of salt. The glass-backed iPad Pro or redesigned iPad Mini could simply evaporate behind the scenes. WWDC is coming up soon, but Gurman didn’t suggest any of these devices would break cover at the event.